Sleep & Wellness

How Do Different Sleep Positions Affect My Health?

17 August 2023

At Vispring, we understand that a good night’s sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. And the best sleep position is not just a matter of personal preference; it’s also a crucial factor in promoting healthy spinal alignment, extending from your hips to your head. While we’re all prone to tossing and turning throughout the night, specific positions have been heralded as more beneficial for promoting a healthful rest. Whether you’re grappling with back pain or seeking a more restful night’s sleep, your sleeping position can make a significant difference.

The golden rule of sleep is individualistic: the best position is one where you wake up rejuvenated, free from discomfort or fatigue. If you’ve found that sweet spot, there’s no compelling reason to alter it. Yet, if you wish to explore a new sleep position or enhance your current one, our guide will walk you through the various positions, examining their pros and cons, and recommending the best choices for different conditions, ensuring that you wake up feeling rejuvenated and ready for the day ahead.

Sleeping on Your Side

As the predominant choice among adult, ref 1 side sleeping not only aligns with comfort but also significantly outshines other positions in the benefits for your physical and physiological health. This lateral position keeps your spine in a neutral alignment, which can play a vital role in preventing or alleviating any neck, back, and shoulder pain you might experience, ref 2. This is providing you have the correct supportive sleep surface, of course. At Vispring, our mattresses are made from pocket springs encased in fleece wool and cotton to ensure a soft but resilient surface to rest on. And if you truly want that golden quality sleep, opt to sleep on your left side instead of your right, as several studies have concluded that sleeping on the right side may increase pressure on your internal organs, ref 3.


For certain health conditions, side sleeping is even more beneficial than for most, and if any of these apply to you, it may be worth switching your sleep position up to trying side sleeping.



Side sleeping has unequivocally proven to be the best sleep position for pregnant women. Relieving the pressure of a growing belly, sleeping on your side enables the heart to pump with ease and blood to flow easily throughout the body. In particular, the left side is recommended because it prevents pressure on the liver and facilitates healthy blood flow to the foetus, uterus, kidneys, and heart. Especially in the second and third trimesters, sleeping on your left can aid blood flow to the placenta, reducing swelling in the legs and feet.



For those who face the double-edged sword of being a nighttime snorer – a blessing in slumber, and a curse for bed-sharers – side sleeping may provide a remedy! This position helps keep the airway open and prevents the tongue and soft palate from falling backward into the throat, reducing the likelihood of obstruction and thus snores, ref 2.

If you suffer from sleep apnoea, side sleeping would be a good sleep position too, as it enables more efficient breathing.



If you have asthma and usually rest on your side, favouring your left side might offer relief, especially if you suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, or heartburn, a condition known to exacerbate asthma during the night. The act of resting on your left side uses gravity, the natural contour of the stomach, and the connecting angle to the oesophagus, all of which contribute to a reduction in reflux. Sleeping on your left side with your head elevated should improve symptoms, and adding a pillow between your legs can further enhance your sleep experience. Take a look at our luxurious down and feather pillows here.



If you suffer with lower back pain, you may also find relief in sleeping in a side position, as this allows for a more natural alignment of the spine, reducing stress on the back muscles. Coupled with a supportive pillow between the knees, side sleeping can create a harmonious balance of comfort and support, easing tension and aiding in a restorative night’s sleep, ref 2. If you suffer from back pain, it is imperative that you also choose the right mattress to alleviate your symptoms and prevent further injury.  And so at Vispring, recognising that one size does not fit all, we handcraft each mattress to your exact specifications to ensure true comfort and spinal support.



Though side sleeping is a fairly agreeable position for most people to sleep in, if you experience shoulder pain we would advise you to avoid it and always consult a doctor or specialist. This could also be the result of your mattress being too firm, so we would advise looking into what the right tension is for you to have ideal shoulder support.



Sleeping on Your Back

Sleeping on your back embraces the ergonomics and contours of your mattress, allowing them to function at their most optimal, particularly those designed to enhance or uphold good posture, ref 2. This alignment enables the spine to maintain a more natural position, forestalling some of the neck, shoulder, and back pain commonly associated with other postures.



Lying on your back is the optimal sleep position to alleviate neck pain, as it steers clear of the misalignment often encountered in side or stomach positions. As you lie on your back, aim to keep your arms in similar positions to prevent an imbalance in the spine, thereby sidestepping potential shoulder or neck discomfort. Careful selection of a pillow is also essential here, and ours at Vispring tenderly supports the neck while inviting your head to nestle more deeply.



If you suffer with back pain, and you just can’t get comfortable on your side, try sleeping on your back with a gentle bend in the knees. This graceful alignment helps balance the body and diminishes pressure on the lumbar spine, promoting comfort throughout the night.



Should you find yourself contending with hayfever or that annual cough and stuffy nose that seems to come around every winter, the best position to sleep in is on your back with pillows to prop yourself up. This arrangement opens your airways and may assist in draining the nasal passages, ref 3.



Always consult with your doctor first, but experts have advised that the best position to sleep in post-surgery is your back, as it provides the least disruption to the body’s healing process and alignment. During recovery from an appendectomy or abdominal surgery, as examples, try lying on your back with a pillow or rolled up blanket tucked under the affected area.



Sciatica pain can be particularly troublesome during nighttime, but sleeping on your back can help to ensure that an alleviation of pressure is spread across your body, ref 4.



Sleeping on the back may not be suitable for certain individuals due to various underlying conditions or characteristics.

Pregnant women, for example, may find back sleeping uncomfortable, especially in the later stages, as it can put pressure on the main vein that returns blood from the lower body to the heart, potentially affecting blood flow.

People suffering from acid reflux could experience worsening symptoms when lying flat, as this position may encourage stomach acid to move upwards into the oesophagus, ref 5.

In addition, older adults might find back sleeping uncomfortable or detrimental, especially if they suffer from chronic back pain or other underlying health issues.

And Finally, Sleeping on Your Front

The preferred position by only 8% of the population, and for good reason – lying on your front offers the least back support and the potential for the most spinal misalignment of the three main positions. To sleep on the stomach, the head must be turned to one side, resulting in an unavoidable twist that strains the neck and head away from the spine. A mattress that lacks firmness can further exacerbate this issue, causing the stomach and hips to sink, uncomfortably stretching the spine out of alignment. Moreover, sleeping in this manner will cause the head to be elevated on the pillow, preventing the spine from resting in a neutral position and overarching the spine.


We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again. The optimal sleep position is the one that you find the most comfortable. And if that is sleeping on the front for you, then here are a few modifications you can make to minimise spinal misalignment and prevent long-term injury.

If you’re a stomach-sleeper, try removing your pillow to avoid tilting your neck back and up, ref 1. If you do prefer to rest your head on a pillow, then prop only the forehead on it, which allows your spine to remain more neutral, ref 5. You could also elevate your pelvis with a thin pillow – a subtle adjustment that may assist in alleviating the pressure exerted on the lower back, ref 3.



The one case in which it may be advisable to sleep on your front is if you suffer from degenerative disc disease (DDD) as it can relieve pressure on your discs, particularly those in the lumbar region. This can lead to less irritation and potentially less pain. And in the case of DDD, sleeping on your front may actually help with spinal realignment as you can choose a position that avoids placing excess strain on the affected discs. However, it’s worth noting that this can be a tricky balance and might require carefully chosen pillows or other support to achieve the desired alignment without creating other problems, ref 6.

Choosing a Mattress That Supports Your Sleeping Position

Your sleep position plays a pivotal role in the quality of your sleep. Changing it up is just one of many strategies you can try for better sleep. But again, we want to emphasise that the position that works for you is ultimately the best choice – as the saying goes, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’

Choosing a mattress that supports your position choice is also an important part in ensuring a blissful night’s sleep.

The general rule of thumb is:

For side sleepers, a mattress with a softer to medium feel that supports the natural curvature of the spine is recommended, such as the Vispring Devonshire Mattress.

For back sleepers, a medium to firmer feeling mattress is advised to support a neutral spine,  such as the Vispring Tiara Superb.

And for front sleepers, it is crucial to optimise your sleep environment to mitigate undue strain on your spine and prevent excessive sinking of the hips. Thus, choosing a firmer-feeling mattress is an important step in achieving a more supportive and comfortable sleep experience, such as the Vispring Sublime Superb.

Creating your perfect sleep environment couldn’t be easier than at Vispring. Every part of your bed is customisable, tailored to your individual needs, and this includes the firmness of your mattress. And if you sleep with a partner who has a different sleeping position to you, we offer split mattresses with a different firmness on either half of the bed to ensure that all our customers get the heavenly slumber that they deserve.
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